"Details about wage, health care coverage, and sick leave increases realized by individuals participating in this sectoral initiative are provided, along with an exploration of whether programs can foster system change within sectors that traditionally pay low wages and offer unfavorable working conditions."

"A sectoral approach focuses on both developing worker's skills to meet the demands of the sectors employers and addressing its entrenched practices in hiring, promoting and training workers. Nine organizations participated in this initiative. Six of them concentrated on skills training for participants, two operated social enterprises, and one created a membership association of workers." (Abstractor: Author)

Full Publication Title: Targeting Industries, Training Workers and Improving Opportunities: The Final Report from the Sectoral Employment Initiative

Major Findings & Recommendations

Strategies that include enrolling participants in college or intensive training must be accompanied by investments in adult basic education if they are to have a greater reach. Programs should spend time up front determining whether an applicant is a good match for the targeted occupation. This can be accomplished through career assessments and testing, interviews with instructors, tours of potential work sites and workshops in which instructors, employers and alumni describe the nature of the work. It is unrealistic to expect that individuals with no source of income will be able to complete intensive training programs. Programs must either select applicants who have a source of support to meet basic needs—e.g., help from family members or public assistance—or consider ways to help them afford to participate. Possibilities include using flexible funding to provide a stipend to meet participants’ needs and working with accredited educational institutions to help individuals obtain student loans. Programs should involve employers in program design and implementation; doing so increases employer confidence in the skills training that participants receive and in the individuals themselves. SEI programs that involved employers were the most successful in placing participants in training-related occupations" (p.54). Initiative Statistics: - The percentage of participants with health care from their employers increased from 49 to 73% with sick leave from 35 to 58%. (p.10) - 83% of participants agreed that training prepared them for a job in the targeted sector. (p.10) - Participants that graduated from training programs saw increased wages (average $2 more an hour), greater percentage had health care benefits (73% v. 49%) more sick leave (58% v. 35%), As a group participants accessed higher wage jobs" (p. 19-20). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)